(Note: C = centigrade, and F = fahrenheit)
The reason that the high altitude affects cooking and baking is because of the lower atmospheric pressure due to a thinner blanket of air. As altitude increases, atmospheric pressure decreases, and this in turn causes:
- Water to boil at 196.9 degrees F (at my altitude) instead of 212 degree as at sea level.
- Leavening (baking powder, baking soda, cream of tartar) to expand more.
- Yeast doughs to rise too quickly and too high.
- Sugar solutions to become more concentrated in frostings, candies, jellies, and baked products.
- Faster evaporation of liquids in all cooking processes.
- Drying out of normal moisture in most food products.
I am using a high altitude cookbook that I bought on Amazon when I was back in the States. And a friend has given me a bi-lingual Andean cookbook, using the produce you'll find in the markets here. I'm just starting to learn how to cook with the different recipes.
In addition, it is necessary to convert from the U. S. customary system to the metric system, such as:
Slow Oven: (300 to 325 F) converts to 149 to 163 C
Moderate Oven: (340 to 375 F) converts to 177 to 191 C
Hot Oven; (400 to 425 F) converts to 204 to 218 C.
(Remember that water freezes at 0 degrees C, and boils at 100 degrees C.)
- A liter equals a little more than a quart (1 quart plus 3 tablespoons)
- A kilogram equals a little more that two pounds (2.2 pounds)
- 1 cup of butter equals 200 grams
- 1 cup of sugar equals 190 grams
- 1 cup of flour equals 140 grams
- 1 cup of rice equals 150 grams
- 1 cup of liquids equals 1/4 liter
There are many cities in the U. S. at high altitudes so this information is just a review for many cooks living in the mountains.
Other Differences Not Relating to Cooking
- Also, an easy rule of thumb in converting the outside temperature from centigrade to fahrenheit is: take the C temperature and double it, then add 30 and you'll get an estimate of the F temperature.
- I've learned how to tell time on a 24 hour system (i.e., 20:00 = 8PM)
- The date is different here (i.e., October 1st (10/01/11) is 01/10/11 (day first, then month).
- Numbers are written with the commas and decimals switched (i.e., $5.89 = $5,89; $1,364 = $1.364; $1,740,003 = $1'740.003).
- And don't even get me started on the language difference!
Until next time (hasta luego),